Wayne Rooney still the key to England's chances

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For a long time England were reliant on Wayne Rooney as the country's only world-class talent - and that fact remains.

The Manchester United forward responded when England needed him as his terrific header set the Three Lions on the way to the World Cup.

Despite Daniel Sturridge's fine start to the season, despite the obvious talent of Jack Wilshere, and despite the emergence of Andros Townsend, Rooney is still the country's only truly world-class star.

Rooney has, in the past, underwhelmed at major tournaments when England had relied on him. However, the former Everton prodigy displayed last night why he remains crucial to any England hopes at next summer's tournament.

As England searched for a goal it took a moment of Rooney brilliance to set the ball rolling.

His well-timed header put him just 11 goals away from Sir Bobby Charlton's all time record, and with several friendlies beforehand, a very good - okay, very, very good - tournament from Rooney and England and the United striker could break that record before the end of next summer.

Rooney was on the verge of a move from Old Trafford during the transfer window, however, having stayed put, the striker looks galvanised.

With team-mate Robin van Persie yet to hit the heavy heights of last season, Rooney could be the main man for a struggling United side this term.

And providing he stays injury-free, this could yet be the tournament where Rooney marks his legacy as one of the finest players to wear an England shirt.

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Wayne Rooney

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